Monthly Archives: February 2009

BookMooch in action!

February 8, 2009

image A real long time ago I signed up with the by now well known BookMooch:

a community where you can send away books you do not read anymore and can retrieve books you would like (for free).

I started out by registering a book I wanted to drop. This book, which I once picked up in some airport bookshop before a flight was requested today (!) as a mail dropped in my mailbox. The request came from an american teacher in photography (with a great site). She wants this book:

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I now have two problems:

  1. Since the book is quite heavy it will cost me quite something to the U.S.A.
  2. I don’t have time to go to the post office
  3. I do not know how to pack the book
  4. I have forgotten how it was supposed to work:

Problem 1: ah well… maybe I can then also request a book from someone, which is also a nice experiment, I absolutely need to complete my Laumer collection one day and this might be a good way since paying sellers on ebay the shipping costs for the Laumer books is probably more than the costs I will pay. Besides that I am over 3 points (I have 3.1 points).

Problem 2: One of the major not-nice-for-a-smoker things of my current project is that I have to walk for at least 15 minutes to walk from my car… to my client. Every day, after 1.5hr traffic jam at a minimum. Since I hate this, It might be interesting to make it worthwhile because coincidently the only shop on the road is… a postoffice! Might actually become a habit and useful.

Problem 3: How should I send the book? Does it need a big box? Only paper? I think I need packaging material! Not only for this book, but also for future books I’m going to send. I hope they have this also at the post office. Maybe the stuff with the bubbles and some solid carton and … of course lots of tape! And address labels! So I will have to buy this first.

Problem 4: That’s easy I looked them up in the FAQ:

Bookmooch works via points, the rules are:

- every time you enter a book you get 1/10 point
- sending a book gives you 1 point
- requesting a book costs 1 point
- commenting on a received book gives you 1/10 point
- sending to abroad gets you 3 points
- retrieving from abroad costs 2 points
- you need to give at least 1 book for every 2 your receive

Well… let’s send it! (and explore BookMooch some more)

Limited edition CD Angie Arsenault

February 7, 2009

imageToday I receive the limited edition of “Once upon a Dream” of Angie Arsenault. (#0354)

I was one of the 531 people who supported/invested/believed in this album through Sellaband.

The album is definitely superb. You can listen to the songs here (except for the two bonus songs they are only on the limited edition).

If you are quickly you can still get one of the remaining 5000 limited edition digipacks.

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Four Chords, 36 Songs

February 7, 2009

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A while ago I ended up at Musipedia, which lets you search for songs based on piano playing (and cords and drawing and singing…). When I “sat behind the piano” and started to play it brought up songs with basically whatever melody I (non musician) played starting from the middle-ages.

It entered my mind that it is not even remotely possible anymore to find any original song, whatever you play (here), even the craziest combinations, bring up existing songs!

I think that if you do find an original song it will be worth a lot money but I think they have already crossed the possibility out of existence by creating this tunes database.

Another idea to revive the music industry

February 6, 2009

While reading Can SanDisk prompt another digital-music revolution? I was thinking about another feature for boosting music sales (legally):

Create a virtual social network with many subparts and virtual goodies only for buyers of albums. E.g. buy the new cd of artist X and get exclusive access to the social network including forums, news, clips, content, interaction and possibly some status symbols which people can collect, since it is also part of collecting: e.g. virtual albums covers showing of your official collection. So …  you can only get access to the album owners part group within the social network if you have the code to login with it which you acquire when buying the album. The more albums you own, the more parts within the network you can access. All record companies could work together to create 1 network with many different subparts.

Hey… if I had the time and money I could even start it myself.

The End of The World is Near in 2012!!

February 6, 2009

The Earth is degenerating today. Bribery and corruption abound. Children no longer obey their parents, every man wants to write a book, and it is evident that the end of the world is fast approaching.
== Assyrian tablet, c. 2800 BC

I read this more often from lunatics, that the world will end, unfortunately they can not be argued out of their mind-sickness under the influence of centuries of  propaganda techniques (see also the list of times the world did not end ).

We have, for the past 5000 years of writings, in each generation, large crowds believing that the world will end, what is it with that line of thinking, is it IQ, is it a mind-sickness? Obviously we need to take action on worlds affairs, and obviously we need to work together on urgent issues.

So my theory is, that the originators of those theories somehow have the urge to get a large array of followers by using a mixture of propaganda techniques under which the “end of everything coming soon” technique.

What followers of these ideas are missing are actually hard facts. And not half truths or truths with large relevant information missing.

It can also be used in different circumstances. “the end of the economy is near” or “the end of all life is near”.

Besides that: since the largest bulb of life on this planet are bacteria, who do not care if they live in volcanoes or in radioactive environments … it is almost impossible to destroy the most important life form on this planet and that is not us, so who cares? (we do, but that is because obviously we are self limited self-centered and care about and reason from ourselves while we are a totally irrelevant “hyve” of bacteries on this planet and even this planet is totally irrelevant in the universe, even the holographic one).

What self-improvement courses do not teach you

February 6, 2009

"I soon realized that the correct use of propaganda is a true art which has remained practically unknown to the bourgeois parties. Only the Christian-Social movement, especially in Lüger’s time, achieved a certain virtuosity on this instrument, to which it owed many of its successes."
— Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, Volume 1, Chapter 6, "War Propaganda"

I stumbled on Propaganda and Debating techniques and realized that these things are the things we should learn our children at schools: not to tell the truth and all the good virtues but how to lie like a politician and when and how, how to destroy other people’s credibility, how to effectively use half-truths, use sly suggestions and fear mongering, create phobias, lie with qualifiers, lie with statistics, how to buy the lead, and so on.

The “big lie” technique is also interesting used by religions and various groups:

"Tell a lie enough times and it will become the truth."
— Heinrich Himmler

Hitler explained his Big Lie technique in Mein Kampf,

The greatness of the lie is always a certain factor in being believed; at the bottom of their hearts, the great masses of a people are more likely to be misled than to be consciously and deliberately bad, and in the primitive simplicity of their minds, they are more easily victimized by a large than by a small lie…. Some part of even the boldest lie is sure to stick.

It’s a strange fact of human psychology that giant, totally outrageous lies are sometimes more believable than small lies, just by virtue of their bodaciousness. People feel that there must be something to it, because the claims are so extreme. People can’t help but feel that "Where there is so much smoke, there must be some fire."

I read the complete page on Propaganda and Debating techniques since it was absolutely such a good read. I never realized the A.A. was a completely fraud organization purely build on propaganda.

The Hypnotic Bait and Switch technique is also interesting for use on weblogs :)

Observe the broken flow of logic between these two paragraphs:

      This world of ours has made more material progress in the last century than in all the millenniums which went before. Almost everyone knows the reason. Students of ancient history tell us that the intellect of men in those days was equal to the best of today. Yet in ancient times material progress was painfully slow. The spirit of modern scientific inquiry, research and invention was almost unknown. In the realm of the material, men’s minds were fettered by superstition, tradition, and all sorts of fixed ideas. Some of the contemporaries of Columbus thought a round earth preposterous. Others came near putting Galileo to death for his astronomical heresies.
      We asked ourselves this: Are not some of us just as biased and unreasonable about the realm of the spirit as were the ancients about the realm of the material?
(The Big Book, William G. Wilson, page 51.)

All of the statements before the last one are true and unchallengeable. The listener will be lulled into uncritically accepting more statements, expecting them to also be unquestionably true. That is when the speaker (Bill Wilson) suddenly slips a lie into the speech. The last sentence is an irrational appeal to embrace the very evils, the narrow-minded blind faith, the superstitious "spirituality" and "the realm of the spirit" that the previous sentences had so properly criticized.

Bait and switch.

And it’s also a gross distortion of the facts — a false analysis of history — to say that "the ancients" were "biased and unreasonable" about the "realm of the material." They weren’t. The medieval Roman Catholic Church authorities were far more "biased and unreasonable" about the "realm of the spirit." They would not tolerate any "spiritual", religious, or philosophical ideas that were different from their own. They asserted that they and the Bible had all of the true answers about everything in the world, and anyone who disagreed with them the least little bit was evil and doing the work of the Devil and trying to lead people to Hell. Their inquisitions ran for centuries, and killed a lot of people. One of the commonest reasons for a death sentence and burning at the stake was "heresy".

Anwayz more here.

Why do people play dumb when asking for advice?

February 6, 2009

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(keyboard from keyboardforblondes)

As a “technical” person who has helped out people in this field since 1980 varying from home computing, years on an IT helpdesk for end-users, as IT consultant in Enterprises in various development, architecture, design, improvement streams I have noticed the following:

When people seek help on *whatever* that requires (technical) knowledge they go play dumb. Varying from “I really don’t have any knowledge on this so guide me step by step”, “it says *press enter* what should I do now?” to “Ey, I hear you are technical good on X, could you help me this problem?” up unto more complex material “we have configuration XYZ in architecture WUG with problem on components TYU and 25 teams working on RLB and I really do not have any insight on how it works…”.

The amazing thing is that I do the exact same thing.

When I call a helpdesk on “my software X on my client Z is behaving strangely”, I begin to play completely dumb. If he or she tells me “now press start and control panel”, I really follow the steps and start to ask dumb questions which I in reality already know but somehow seem to be defining the relation. “Well… it is a problem with a windows service”, then I respond “ow… what is a windows service? (…) ow… haha well.. I am not that technical, but hey if you say so” (really!!), while in fact I can dream most of the services that are running on various versions of Windows, know my resources, have process explorer etc on my survival stick , can trace information flowing through various defined and undefined ports and obviously can write my own services in a various amount of languages and operating systems whenever I would need them without even making such a thing not an entry in the planning since I do that in the side-15 minutes. (my c# compiler is under a button). STILL I say to that person on the other side that I really do not know anything about “computers”.

I really have no clue why I do that. Somehow it irritates me when other people behave like that but somehow I do exactly the same. I would have to think about this some more in the future, on why this behavior pattern exists and is very common within companies.

You can also witness this on TV during interviews with “experts”. The interviewer somehow crawls into a not-remotely-possible-really-existing-dumb-unknowing-human and goes out asking professors questions that are on such an amoeba level that obviously a stream of communication follows that, as a viewer, can only be seen as a sort of cabaret.

As I get older I get more tired from cabaret so I wonder what would happen if we would know each other’s brain status.

me: “can you help me, my computer does not work”
support: “fuck you, you deliberately say the non-saying term *computer* to put me on the wrong foot. Why don’t you specify that you you already tested your self written assembly based driver for your self build lego device Z and probably in a specific case your fucking badly written php application dies because your are running in to a well-researched and discussed bug when converting this to *nix? You even tried to hide it by uninstalling all that shit but you are so dumb that your forgot 2 registry entries. Go fuck yourself and call back when you are willing to talk straight to me or die *klik*”

Bright ideas come to us at night, not in office hours

February 6, 2009

from couriermail:

EARLY to bed, early to rise, makes you healthy, wealthy and wise, so goes the old proverb. But it seems the advice holds little truth.

Research now suggests that if you want to be the wisest, you really need to stay up – well, until 10.04pm at least.

This is supposedly the best time for a eureka moment, according to research.

And around a quarter of us feel we formulate our most cunning plans when we are burning the midnight oil, a survey of 1426 adults found.
By contrast, despite what many managers may believe, daytime in the office is not conducive to blue-sky thinking.

The afternoon, when most people are at work, is when an overwhelming 98 per cent of those polled say they feel most "uninspired".
The creativity drought just gets worse over the nine-to-five working day, hitting rock bottom at 4.33pm.
When asked about methods they use to get their creative juices flowing, 44 per cent said they took a shower.
Unfortunately for mankind, even when we do get a stroke of genius, more than half of our ideas are lost for ever.
When inspiration strikes, 58 per cent of us fail to write the idea down immediately and forget it, according to the poll conducted by hotel chain Crowne Plaza. Women were better than men at jotting down their best ideas for posterity.
A third of over-35s chose to scribble the thought on the back of their hand, perhaps having learnt from experience how forgetful they are.

The findings echo an Italian study in 2006 that found those who stay up late have the most original ideas.

Night owls came up with the most creative thoughts – perhaps because they are more likely to be unconventional and bohemian than early birds – according to the research by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Milan.

There is probably so much complicated truth behind this that I hope they study this further. It is well known that our greatest geniuses, e.g. the last Homo Universalis, Rene Descartes, never rose early and always worked through the night. There is something more behind this. Probably much more. Some theories:

  • I think that it has also todo with “zen”. At night, all work is done, all is quiet and a person can analyze, build thoughts on thoughts and run a chain of thoughts without being stopped or distracted.
  • It might have todo with flow and becoming into the “flow” (I have the audio book of Mihály Csíkszentmihályi)
  • I think it has also todo with subconscious processes: putting someone physically next to someone else degrades performance of brain-jobs. (However it will improve things for physical compiled knowledge e.g. bicycling). Whoever invented open offices didn’t understand anything about humans. Companies who place their resources in one open space typically are dumping the remote possibility of new bright ideas or good solid plans, unless these employees work throughout the night without physical beings around them.
  • To fully utilize brainpower of humans you need to put them in a place without any physical presence of other human beings, that happens at night.

Maybe some of you have noticed this at work. When you are working from home you typically generate a large amount of work in “thinking up stuff” like plannings or architectures or creative concepts. You have limitless brainpower at such stages. When you are sitting in a space with other physical human being present, no matter if everyone is quiet, it will take you much longer to progress on real creative thinking to solve puzzle pieces. Chances are you will never find that brilliant solution or concept.

However, although we live in an information society, the social pressure to be present from 07.00 to 16.00 is simply there, somehow reducing or limiting the possibilities of whatever you are working on and making it very production like and very un-entrepeneur like. I realize however that probably the largest crowd likes to be a 07.00-16.00 production-like person. Make planning, do task, fail or succeed, deliver, next planning.

Certainly you have come up with some brilliant ideas in your lifetime, which are not the ones you think yourself as brilliant but the ones which others find brilliant. I think we need to classify these moments and find out if we can mimic the circumstances, but, possibly, also the attributes of that person at that moment in time. We could possibly make some improvements on “improvement thinking”.

Amazing Video: Crawling White Blood Cell Chasing a Bacterium

February 6, 2009

Absolutely stunning movie of a Crawling Neutrophil Chasing a Bacterium (This video is taken from a 16-mm movie made in the 1950s by the late David Rogers at Vanderbilt University.) (via ScienceHack.com)

image Whenever a germ or infection enters the body, the white blood cells snap to attention and race toward the scene of the crime. The white blood cells are continually on the lookout for signs of disease. When a germ does appear, the white blood cells have a variety of ways by which they can attack. Some will produce protective antibodies that will overpower the germ. Others will surround and devour the bacteria. (In every drop of our blood there are 7000 to 25000 of these white blood cells).

But this movie makes me aware on another realization level of the actual real-life soap that is happening in my blood. The texts never did that. I now see that they are awesome hunting blobs! And I have millions of them in my body! Makes me feel pretty invincible.

Neutrophil granulocytes, generally referred to as neutrophils, are the most abundant type of white blood cells in humans and form an essential part of the immune system. They form part of the polymorphonuclear cell family (PMN’s) together with basophils and eosinophils.

and

The Bacteria are a large group of unicellular microorganisms. Typically a few micrometres in length, bacteria have a wide range of shapes, ranging from spheres to rods and spirals. Bacteria are ubiquitous in every habitat on Earth, growing in soil, acidic hot springs, radioactive waste, water, and deep in the Earth’s crust, as well as in organic matter and the live bodies of plants and animals. There are typically 40 million bacterial cells in a gram of soil and a million bacterial cells in a millilitre of fresh water; in all, there are approximately five nonillion (5×1030) bacteria on Earth, forming much of the world’s biomass.

Anywayzzz … after seeing this movie I took a look at the Wikipedia page of these Neutrophils where I:

  • found some more cool movies
  • found some great charts of the family structure (LARGE diagram)
  • and found out how these bodily cells, bacteria, and other single-cell or multicellular organisms direct their movements according to certain chemicals in their environment, it is called chemotaxis.